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City Aims To Engage Businesses With 'Inclusive Innovation Week'

Noah Brode
90.5 WESA

About 30 people gathered at Smallman Galley in the Strip District Monday for one of the first events of more than 60 this week geared at including all types of people in innovative practices across the city.

That includes everything from a small business resource fair and a women business leaders breakfast, to several more colorful ideas, like "Pizza Poems" and "Maker Storytime Thursday."

“Some of them are catered toward certain groups, such as a girls’ maker night at Assemble, TechShop – how to make a whistle, Children’s Museum is hosting a number of events catered to toddlers – Tots STEM and STEAM,” said Debra Lam, the city's chief of innovation and performance.

Inclusive Innovation Week builds on efforts laid out by the Pittsburgh Roadmap for Inclusive Innovation, which targets ways in which the city can improve its own interactions with businesses and residents.

Credit Noah Brode / 90.5 WESA
Debra Lam, Pittsburgh Chief of Innovation and Performance, speaks at Monday's kickoff event for Inclusive Innovation Week.

Lam said the idea of an Innovation Week isn't entirely new, cities like Los Angeles and Baltimore have held them before.

"But we are the first city to launch Inclusive Innovation Week, and to have it be really cognizant around picking up all demographics and sectors," Lam said. 

The site of the kickoff event, Smallman Galley, is itself an example of innovation in the city. It's an eatery divided into many separate small kitchens, each providing customers with its own food offerings. The idea is to allow chefs to test out their culinary ideas before they open standalone restaurants.

The full list of Innovation Week programs can be found here.